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December 5, 2011
In this issue:
  'Your' Basis Level is What Really Counts
  Parity Affects Pigs Weaned/Mated Female/Year
  Net Farm Income Likely to Set a Record
  NPPC Contests Proposed On-Farm Child Labor Rules

'Your' Basis Level is What Really Counts
By Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics, Inc., Des Moines, IA

With Thanksgiving past, Christmas near, and the New Year fast approaching, many producers will be thinking about the trials and blessings that have come their way this year.

Recent market developments have brought some big blessings. Most notable are the changes in feed ingredient and hog prices that have driven a dramatic increase in potential profits for 2012. Figure 1 shows my latest computations using Iowa State University's production parameters for average farrow-to-finish operations and Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Groups closing futures prices for Friday, Dec. 3.

Readers should note that the profit figures for both 2011 and 2012 are $2-3 higher than I have computed in the past due to a change in hog basis computations. The numbers shown here reflect the weekly basis for the national negotiated slaughter net price. I have not used that series in the past, but with nine years of data, I believe it is appropriate for computing expected net prices for spot-sold pigs.

Projected Iowa corn prices of less than $6/bu. and soybean meal prices under $300/ton have put forecasted production costs at their lowest level since 2010. While $81/cwt., carcass, is by no means low, it is roughly $15/cwt. lower than the grain futures markets were offering last summer.


Parity Affects Pigs Weaned/Mated Female/Year
This third and final article on female parity effects on weaned pig averages will focus on several production parameters - weaning age, pigs weaned/female farrowed, female death loss percentage, female culling percentage, sow herd parity structure and farm size.

We selected 94 farms from the Swine Management Services database, located in Canada and the United States. To be part of the dataset, farms must have weaned at least 20 pigs weaned/mated female/year (PW/MF/Y) the last 52 weeks and have a mature sow farm. Several different genetic lines were represented.

The 94 farms represented 222, 362 females, averaging 2,364 females/farm. These farms reported 25.70 PW/MF/Y, on average, for the 52-week period. The top 21 farms, averaging 3,129 females, produced 27 PW/MF/Y.

Chart 1 shows average weaning age, by parity. The average weaning age for all farms was 19.68 days. The top 21 farms averaged 19.17 days at weaning. The chart shows the weaning age ranged from 20.11 days for Parity 1 sows to 19.10 days for P7+ females. The top 21 farms ranged from 19.74 days of age at weaning for Parity 1 sows and 18.41 days for Parity 7+ females. In this dataset, 45% of farms weaned pigs between 19 and 21 days of age, with a range of 17.1 to 24.1 days of age.


Net Farm Income Likely to Set a Record
By P. Scott Shearer, Bockorny Group, Washington DC

Net farm income is estimated to reach a record of $100.9 billion this year. According to USDA's latest report, "Farm Income and Costs: 2011 Farm Sector Income Forecast," the projection is 28% higher than net farm income last year. The report estimates that crop receipts will rise over 16% in 2011, while livestock receipts are expected to rise nearly 17%. Cash receipts for corn are estimated at $60 billion, a 34% increase over 2010, while oil crops will reach $38 billion, an 8% increase. Cash receipts for pork are estimated at $39.4 billion and cattle at $62.3 billion. Total production expenses for 2011 are expected to reach a record $320 billion. Government payments paid directly to producers are expected to total $10.6 billion in 2011, which is a 14.4% decrease from 2010 payments. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said, "A strong U.S. agricultural economy means more opportunities for small business owners and jobs for folks who package, ship and market agricultural products. Our farmers and ranchers have worked hard to keep their debt low and to capitalize on a broader economic recovery. Their willingness to adapt, innovate and embrace new research and technologies have ensured their success and can be a blueprint for the rest of the country's economic recovery."


NPPC Contests Proposed On-Farm Child Labor Rules
By Joe Vansickle, Senior Editor

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) along with the American Sheep Industry Association and the National Turkey Federation has jointly submitted comments on the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) proposed on-farm child labor regulations.

The groups charged the proposed rules show that DOL has a "shallow understanding of modern livestock and poultry farm practices and production."

For example, many youth use livestock as part of 4-H, FFA and other leadership programs. But under the rules, youth under age 18 would be prohibited from being near certain animals without adult supervision.

The rules would also prohibit youth from "operating or assisting to operate" farm machinery over 20 PTO horsepower.


Dec. 6, 2011: Midwest Pork Conference, Hendricks County Conference Complex, Danville, IN. For more information contact:

Dec. 6, 2011: Risk Management Educational Seminar, Northwest Iowa Community College, Sheldon, IA. For more information contact: Iowa Pork Producers Association at (800) 372-7675 or Tyler Bettin at

Dec. 7, 2011: Risk Management Educational Seminar, The Borlaug Learning Center, Iowa State University Northeast Research Farm, Nashua, IA. For more information contact: Iowa Pork Producers Association at (800) 372-7675 or Tyler Bettin at

Dec. 8, 2011: Risk Management Educational Seminar, Johnson County Extension Office, Iowa City, IA. For more information contact: Iowa Pork Producers Association at (800) 372-7675 or Tyler Bettin at



The April 15, 2011 Blueprint edition of National Hog Farmer offers details on creating stable herd health by developing a herd health profile, provides a review of basic immunology and gives details on how to select the right vaccine. The final article looks at efforts by a consortium of swine disease researchers to understand genetic disease resistance.

NPPC and the National Pork Board have launched a program, We Care, to promote pork producers' commitment to responsible pork production. From animal care and the environment to food safety and quality, pork producers demonstrate best practices daily.
For more on continuing the tradition of doing what’s right, Click here


The November 15, 2011 edition of National Hog Farmer takes a hard look at porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), the most costly disease in the global swine industry. This edition profiles production systems that have eliminated the persistent virus, plus guidance on keeping the pesky disease out. This edition and more are posted at

MINTREX® Cu helps optimize antimicrobial effects in the GI tract resulting in improved gut health, mineral absorption and nutrient utilization in pigs. Research indicates MINTREX Cu, fed at 80 parts per million through the finishing period, improves ADG and feed/gain ration while also generating heavier carcass weights.


National Hog Farmer offers 10 posters targeting key production areas, offering guidance in critical areas such as feet and leg soundness and reproduction traits soundness in replacement gilts. Others include pig anatomy, heat detection, sow condition, etc. All posters are in English. Select posters are translated to Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.



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